Monday, July 3, 2006

To France or Not to France

That doesn't really sound like an existential question, does it? However, for us, this decision involves thought about some of our basic life values and goals. Here's the story:

Two of our very best friends are inveterate travelers. They've been on annual European and Asian treks since 1969, some lasting as long as eight weeks. Of course, they've traversed the US many times over. In other words, they have the traveling thing down pat.

We, on the other hand, are fairly new at the travel game, at least the international part. In May 2005, we traveled with them to the UK, where we spent two weeks doing what I call "England 101." It was your basic survey course of the country, that took us through six cities from Brighton to York. We drove 2000 miles (most of it much too fast, since my husband was at the wheel of our nice Saab Turbo), and I sat in the back seat soaking up the most beautiful green vistas I have ever seen. It was a dream come true for me, and I look back on it now with great longing to be meandering through those valleys and strolling through those little villages once again.

Well, this year our friends took two (yes, two!) trips to France, each one for about 16 days. They invited us along, but we reluctantly declined, since we hadn't yet paid off all the bills from our last sojurn abroad! Last weekend, we had dinner with them and they announced they had booked tickets in May 2007 for a two week trip to Provence, and wouldn't we like to join them.

Of course we want to join them - the prospect of spending two weeks in Provence (with a side trip to Paris) makes my heart beat faster and itch with longing. But here is the dilemma - do we want to incur another round of debt for this trip, or shouldn't we be really serious about saving for that mid-life career and lifestyle change that we hope to embark on in another three or four years? And, should we plan a trip that far in advance, considering the health conditions of both our mother's?

Part of me (the part that has hungrily devoured every Peter Mayle and Frances Mayes book)says, you should just GO - who knows if you'll have another opportunity like this, and why put off dreams in the hope of an uncertain tomorrow, yada yada. The other part (the part who never left home until she was 21, and who was trained to be practical and responsible) says, you have no business spending all that money or leaving your mother to fend for herself for two weeks.

So, what do you think? To France or not to France? That is the question....


Blogger Star said...

I can see both sides of the France issued...but my main question is "What is it you're going to be doing in 3-4 years?" Oh, the intrigue.

Depending on the amount of debt, I'd err on the side of making those lasting memories. It will be especially wonderful if you will be going with seasoned travelers who can make sure you see the the things dearest to your heart.

And a hearty 'Brava!' to you for considering leaving the country. Every time I think about it I picture myself in some stone-age cell waiting for the embassy to come bail me out...I'm better left to the treasures in the good old US of A.

Blogger jzr said...

Yes, there are two sides and only you two can make the decision.

Are the parents you need to take care of taking care of themselves now and/or do they have some terrible ailment that could soon make them unable to care for themselves? You can always get travel insurance to cover things like that.

I like to make plans for travel far in advance. It gives you plenty of time to soak in travel books and get really excited.

The debt is the big issue. Don't stay in the most expensive places. And by planning in advance and doing all that reading you'll find other ways to make it less expensive.

Anyway, I'd love to see you go but hey, I don't have to pay the bills.

Blogger Becca said...

You two were a big help! LOL You're both just as damnably rational as I am!!

All jesting aside, your points are very valid, and are being duly considered. Thanks for such thoughtful responses!

Blogger AnnieElf said...

Becca. GO!!!! You don't know what tomorrow holds. France is fabulous and Mayal's Confessions of a French Baker is next on my reading list. GO!!!! Travel is not logical; it is all about the heart. Follow your heart.

Blogger Susannah said...

i'm with Annie on this one - YOU MUST GO! yes yes yes yes yes. debt is inconvenient but it can be managed - Provence so beautiful, and imagine all the wonderful things you'll get to do. and don't even get me started on Paris - one of my favourite cities in the world. it's just so magical - have chocolat chaud in Cafe Flore for me! these are memories you will treasure forever, B, you gotta go!

I understand your worries for your family, but you've enough time to make provisions to ensure they'll be safe while you're gone. (anyway, the fact that you're reading Mayes and Mayle says it all my friend :-)

Blogger Akimoto Amon said...

16 Tons
What do you got
Another day older and deeper in debt

Blogger deirdre said...

As a fellow practical person who tries to be more spontaneous - should I or should I not - I say start planning and buy travel insurance. You have the opportunity to go with seasoned travelers to a place you're in love with already. Go.

Blogger susanlavonne said...

Allez! Allez!!!
You will not regret it! Did you read what you commented on my blog today ;-)
I will mail you books on Paris so you can save there! And trust me, it will be worth the trip just for the croissants, and the museums, and the wine, and the flea markets, and the flower stands, and the parks, and the window shopping, and the cafes, oh my i could LIVE in the cafes.....take me with you!!!

Blogger paris parfait said...

Well, selfishly I hope you come to France, so I can take you out to dinner in Paris! :) xo Tara


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